Thursday, June 23, 2011

Gay for Gaga.

A lot of our close friends/fans/family members know that I have a strange and possibly unhealthy obsession with Lady Gaga. This is okay with me. I think she's pretty damn smoking too so you can sit on that!

Here's my deal with her;
The music is fun. One of my biggest things about music is it HAS to be fun. When I first heard "Just Dance" I hated it. It was stupid. "Gonna be okay! Do-do-do-doo-and JUST DANCE!"
Same thing with Poker Face. (Muh muh muh muhhh)
I just couldn't get into it! Then one day I saw her preform at the VMA's. She played "Paparazzi" and she blew my fucking mind. First off, she came out in crutches and stuff and danced around but in the middle of the song, the music cuts out, she sits down at a piano and begins to play her little Gaga heart out. She pulls away from the piano only to reveal to the crowd that she is now bleeding all over the stage. It ends with her being lifted above the rest of the dancers where they presume a worship-like-position and she hangs mid-air with blood spatter in her eye. In. Her. Eye. I was hooked.

Here is the thing - She not only looks like she's having fun, but she sounds like it too. Props to her producer Red One because he is a genius behind that mixer and she knows how to push all that energy into a recording.

Here is my deal with her - continued;
Her stage presence. I can only DREAM that I will have the same kind of energy and money to put on a show like she does.
In the opening scene of her Monster Ball tour, it tells the story of how some fans are trying to get to the show but.. oh noes! The truck has broken down! What will they do? The Monster Ball is starting RIGHT NOW.
Enter Lady Gaga. Dressed as usual. She walks over to the truck, throws open the hood, lifts her leg up on it, and starts playing a piano. You know, a piano that is where the engine would usually sit. What!? Why didn't I think of that? More importantly, Why can't we have that at our shows?

Seriously, she is awesome. Combine her catchy-as-fuck music with the crazy, what-will-she-wear next image with her message of love, acceptance and getting fucked up in the bar on a Saturday night and you have the perfect cocktail for me:
Someone who isn't afraid to be themselves, doesn't give a flying fuck what people think of her, absolutely loves, adores and appreciates all of her fans and spreads a message like "Born This Way" on national television, radio and internet outlets.
I don't care what you think of her music, It might not be your cup of tea. But damn it, you have to admire her work and how creative she could be.

I might not be able to play a piano inside a truck at the next show, or even hang from the ceiling while blood pours from my mid-section... But I'll sure as hell battle a giant zombie puppet dressed as Osama Bin Laden any day.

I mean, it's all about putting on a good show and giving fans/potential fans their moneys worth... right?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Didn't Steal Your Dreadlocks, Asshole.

Going to go off track a little here from the usual music-based posts to something I felt needed to be brought up.

Here is the scene -
It's 7:30am and I've just BARELY caught the Green Line train at the El Segundo station. It's usually empty but as we grow nearer to Compton it starts to fill up. A large Jamaican guy gets on the train, glares at me, puts his headphones in and continues to stare.
The train stops at the transfer to the Blue Line and I exit the train. The large Jamaican follows.
I get on my train, now north-bound to Downtown Los Angeles. I snag a seat before the train fills up and I open my copy of The Dark Tower 4; Wizard and Glass (great book by the way...).
Enter; The Large Jamaican.

The train starts moving again and he takes off his headphones, rolls them up and puts them in his pocket. He takes off his sunglasses, folds each arm down carefully and puts them in his other pocket. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath and then confronts me;
"'Eh WHITE Boy," he says in a Jamaican accent just as thick as he is, "Wha do ya t'ink ya doin' wit ya hair like dat, huh?"
Uhh... What?
He proceeds to verbally tear me a new asshole for the next 10 minutes about how I am an abbomonation and a discusting piece of work because I STOLE his peoples look. I STOLE from the people from the Island. I STOLE another thing from the black man. I was part of the problem of how the WHITE MAN can't leave anything alone that deals with black heritage or something like that.

Okay, I get where you are going. I'm sorry I've offended you.

Just kidding, I hope you choke on a rasta donut today because I'm not stealing your fucking dreadlocks.

Here is the deal; Dreadlocks go back as far (and probably even further than) the Ancient Egyptions - it was a sign of royalty but worn by royals and commoners alike. Asian monks, high up in the mountains, would bound their hair in between books until they had long, nasty ass beaver tail looking things. Native Americans would do this as well. It's a style that goes back HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of years. It meant different things to each race/religion/group/etc and I don't think that Jamaicans or Islanders can solely hold the claim of King of Dreadlocks. Ohh.. sorry, "Locks." Because, you know the WHITE MAN gave the name of Dreadlocks to them because they looked "dreadful" on someone.
Also - don't even give me the whole "You're stealing our music from us too! Reggae wasn't meant for white people!"
Okay so 1. Shut up, and 2. You're retarded. Reggae is meant to spread messages of peace and love and unity and justice - regardless of the circumstances, it's a uniforming message meant to be sent across the world. The color of your skin doesn't matter. Stop being racist, asshole. A last note - I never even listened to Reggae until AFTER I had dreadlocks and an old, wrinkly Jamaican guy came into my work place and commented on my hair (he is one of TWO Islanders who have actually complimented my hair- the other guy was homeless). He asked me if I had ever listened to Bob Marley and I said No. He went out (slowly) to his car, came back and handed me 3 Bob Marley CDs and told me to be blessed by Jah. Cool, right? Feel in love with the music and the message right then and there. Stop telling me it's not for me. 

Look, I don't own any Bob Marley shirts, I'm not a Rastafarian and I don't claim to be, I don't smoke Marijuana, I don't want to go to Jamaica one day... I don't even think they make me look cool.

I just like dreadlocks.

I'm a chubby dude with dreads who plays video games, sings and writes songs in a metal band and plays the guitar and drums and any other instrument I get my hands on. I love to play hacky sack, love to turn my hair different colors, listens to Reggae on occasion and loves to make random stuff in the garage. I'm not trying to sabotage the Rastafarian culture, I'm not trying to be an abbomonation to your world or your heritage... Fuck man, I'm not trying to be anything but myself. I enjoy the look.

The only thing I'm trying to prove is that life is short, we only get one shot on this planet and we've got to express ourselves.

Now... has anyone seen where my N.W.A. CD went?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pay-To-Play sucks and so does your band!

Okay, I'm sure your band is awesome. We are all here to support and encourage each other to get up on that stage/platform/plywood and rock the shit out of a crowd. However, when does a clubs burnt-out reputation make it okay for a band to front up hundreds of dollars to play at 5pm on a Tuesday night?

I got a phone call last week from a girl who books bands at a high-profile club in Los Angeles that offers many opportunities to boost your fan base and get recognized by industry leaders. Just kidding. It was the shit hole known as the Whisky A Go-Go in West Hollywood. Getting off track here... She tried to offer us a night at the Whisky with "some ticket sales required."

Now, I remain strict in my beliefs that we will never play at a pay-to-play venue unless we make some kind of deal with the club to not sell tickets and our fans don't get raped in the ass to come out to a show. This didn't stop me from digging a little bit to try and see what the hell she was trying to sell.
Here's the offer we got;
Wednesday Night - 6pm, 7pm, 10pm or 1135pm.
The ticket sales going with each time are as follows;
6pm - 30 tickets @ $10 a piece
7pm - 40 tickets @ $10 a piece
10pm - 60 tickets @ $10 a piece
11:35pm - 35 tickets @ $10 a piece.

She said - "This is a really good opportunity for All Hail The Crimson Kings to play at the Whisky!"
"I'm sorry?"
"All Hail The Crimson King. Singular."
"Oh, my mistake!"

I then asked her - "By any chance, do you know who the headliner is for this show? I mean, for $600 on a Wednesday night, we had better be opening up for Metallica."
"No, sorry, we don't know yet at this time!"

Here is the deal - The Whisky, The Roxy (Oh God, The Roxy...), The Key Club, House of Blues... All of these clubs on the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood have a hair up their ass. This hair is covered in glitter, glam and bleach of the 1980's when it was actually worth a damn to play on the strip. The old burnt out rock stars still sit around at the Rainbow talking about the glory days and how awesome it used to be. These clubs think that because The Doors, Van Halen or any other Rock and Roll icon played on their stages that they can charge US, the musicians, an arm and a leg (and some gear) to play at these clubs.

600 fucking dollars to play at the Whisky on a Wednesday night? No thanks.
By the way, when you're done playing - do you know what the stage crew does? They "help" you load off the stage. The definition of "help you move off stage" at the Whisky is as follows;
"Help - Adj. - To grab all musicians and performers gear from the stage, throw it on the sidewalk, and slam the door on your ass."

It's true. As soon as you finish playing at this "legendary" club, they grab all of your shit, chuck it out the door and throw you out there with it too. You want back in the club to buy $9 beers? Of course you can come back in! After you move all of your gear back to the van/trailer that might not exactly be very close. Might be up that bitch of a hill actually.

I hate pay-to-play as much as the next musician but why do these bands keep subjecting themselves to it? Okay - if you can sell 60 tickets and then make a ton of money off of 300 other tickets then AWESOME! Bring those people into the club, give the club what you owe them and then pocket the rest. But why do these up and coming bands subject them selves to this? As much as I love my friends' music, I can't always bring myself to come see them at the Roxy for $20 on a Tuesday night. You're killin' me, Sunset!

Look- playing a gig on the strip is fun, exciting and definitely a cool experience... But I would rather pay $9 or $10 to see you at some run down bar in some dank alleyway at a club that smells a little funny and has overpriced PBR. That's what rock and roll is all about right? Right.